Everest Base Camp and Kalla Patthar Namche to Phakding
In this blog post, I take you from Namche to Phakding. Most of the events that I talk about are true. My memory is a bit fuzzy on a few of the details, but it makes an interesting read. In conclusion, I hiked down from Namche Bazaar, crossed the Namche bridge, saved a small village, had a humbling experience, settled in Phakding, and drank tongba. It was a pretty rewarding day. I hope you enjoy reading it. Let me know in the comments below.
Day 13: Namche to Phakding
I stopped taking notes on this day, so I am shooting from the hip on what actually transpired. I think I fought a fire breathing dragon, and saved a small village from economic collapse with my sultry line of corduroy evening wear. Don’t quote me on this, but if you are trekking and you see a statue of a man with chiseled Greek god like features and cast in bronze wearing a corduroy suite standing on top of a vanquished dragon with three beautiful women holding onto his legs, the story is real.
Because I can’t remember the exact details, I will dismiss them from my final report aka “Day 13: Namche to Phakding.” From Sherpa Village Hotel we began walking. We passed the check point on our way out of town. I remember the guard taking a long time to review the paperwork. Anyway, the hike down to Namche Bridge was just as difficult as the hike up. We passed several people going to Namche. I tried to instill some encouragement by telling them to go slowly, or they are almost there.
On the other side of Namche Bridge, the terrain leveled out tremendously. Though it was still hilly, it felt great to hike along. We also had excellent views of the river as we trekked along the riverside trail. At one point the trail completely disappeared and was replaced by the remnants of an old river bed. It was either the area of a flood plain or where the river used to be. If I didn’t have a guide, I would have gotten lost. You might think following a stream bed is easy but that’s what the people in the movie Deliverance thought too.
We took our lunch in Monjo, where we were stopped again, and our permits were checked. I had garlic and onion soup for lunch. The food was not delicious. I was still happy to sit down and rest though. At the restaurant we entered there was a group of French men who seemed to have enjoyed a rather long life. I thought to myself it will take them all day to get to the next tea house. Little did I know.
I left the restaurant with my guide. It couldn’t have been more than 30 minutes later, the group of old French dudes passed us on the trail. It blew me away. They were jamming. Much respect old French dudes. That was a humbling experience. I found out later they were part of the La Wi French Athletic Team for senior citizens, and were sponsored by Le Coq Sportif to do the trek. I double checked the information provided to me, but I couldn’t confirm it.
We passed Toktok, then crossed the Nagbuwa river. From here we had great views of the top of Kusum Khangkaru. A heavy mist began to come in, and the temperature dropped about 5 degrees. At first it felt nice, then I got cold and had to layer up. About 15 minutes later we unexpectedly made a left turn through a narrow opening between two buildings. I asked my guide where we were going. He said that this was the trail even though a well-defined path continues strait.
How not to get lost
He said a lot of people miss the turn and visit the small village down the way, only to be disappointed and return 30 minutes later. I looked around for markers and saw some small writings on the top edge of a building that read “EBC Trail” with an arrow under it pointing left. The roof awning slightly hid the sign or at least made it difficult to see from the trail. You really have to pay attention or look for it to see it.
A short time later, we crossed the Dudh Koshi river again, and entered Phakding. We again stayed at the Namaste Lodge Restaurant and Bar. I ate some tsampa porridge to warm up then put my things in my assigned room. When I came back down stairs I ordered some more food. The food here is really good. By this time, I figured we were in a safe drinking zone so I asked my guide if he wanted to have some tongba.
Tongba is an adult beverage made from cracking millet and letting natural fermentation occur inside the seed. My guide took me to an unmarked building where only the locals, and one totally rad dude goes. It was a very simple restaurant. The women who owned it with her husband was very friendly, and happy to serve us with two tall glasses of the most delicious beverage ever produced inside a tiny grain. For $3 I was toasted.
For $6, I was toasted and couldn’t finish my glass. I instead opted for a can of Pringles and many glasses of water. We didn’t make it back to the hotel until about 12:00 am the following day. The hotel was locked though, so slept in my guides room. I didn’t know the hotel owners locked out their guests. It does happen so be mindful of the “lock out time.” The following morning the hotel owner asked me what happened. I just said you locked me out. She laughed and made breakfast.